Work and Play- a Perfect Balance Past Review

By (Political Science, Goucher College) for

Hansard Scholars Programme: London - Hansard Society

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Not only do I understand the British political system far better, but my Hansard experience also allowed me to understand the American political system by providing something to compare it to. I gained a lot of independence and confidence from my semester abroad.

Review Photos

Hansard Scholars Programme: London - Hansard Society Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I strongly recommend this program for its internship component. However, the academic side could use some improvement.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Deliberate concealing of information, as well as miscommunication were a frequent occurrence at Hansard. Very damaging if working with employers, alongside with students. Aside from the organizational aspect which was lacking in quality, Hansard's support system was pretty basic and satisfying. A program coordinator and a program director is the staff with whom the students dealt with. They responded to the queries on a regular basis and were pretty helpful when needed. The program's biggest strength is the internship component. Extremely wonderful experience.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Perfect location in a wonderful Central London neighborhood. However, there were 7 students per apartment, which can be quite crowded, especially if living in a triple room (3 students in a room) and sleeping in a bunk bed. Privacy is nonexistent in those conditions. There were issues with hot water (there was only enough hot water for one or maybe 2 persons to take a shower in a 5 hour window), making the situation rather inconvenient. Bedding and cookware were provided, as was a weekly cleaning service.

* Food:

If you can cook for yourself and are independent in those regards, you will not have any problems. If, however, you are used to a cafeteria/otherwise prepared meal, you might have issues adjusting to culinary independence.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Social opportunities are wonderful. London has lots to offer if you know how to use it right. Whether it is the proximity to other European destinations, or the magic of London itself, there is always something going on. The program arranged 2 trips to see musicals, as well as 2 study trips: to Edinburgh and Oxford, both of which were very educational and helpful for further understanding of the material covered academically during the semester.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Seeing a doctor in the UK is pretty expensive if not covered with a UK insurance (which Hansard students do not qualify for). It is vital to have a US insurance so a reimbursement can be made.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? London is a very expensive city. I cooked daily, so I would spend about 30 pounds ($51) on food per week. An average restaurant meal is around 10 pounds ($17). Most of the museums are free, but special exhibitions charge for entrance.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? It really depends on one's budget. If you can plan well, you can fit in regardless of how much funds you can spend. It's a trade-off really: Do I want to go out for dinner or would I rather go see that exhibition in the museum? If you can afford both, good for you, but if not, just plan ahead and you will be fine.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

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  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

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  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This is a program for politics/econ junkies. It provides great access to information if you know what you're looking for. Use it well and make the most of your experience. Don't be afraid to ask for clarifications or further guidance, that's how you'll learn.